The day after my bout with what I suspect was food poisoning, my breakfast and lunch consisted of two hardboiled eggs, a bowl of chicken stock, and a bottle of ginger beer.  So, when dinner rolled around, my appetite was back.  And good thing too since we had reservations at Raw Canvas, a unique, art-themed restaurant in Vancouver’s Yaletown.  Akemi had been eager to check the place out since seeing it featured on Food Network.

The menu consists of charcuterie items (meats, cheeses, nuts and dried fruit) but the big draw isn’t the food, it’s, well, the draw.  Or the painting to be more precise. You take a seat at your table, have your meal, then pick your canvas (priced by size) and head on over to the painting area where you can give free rein to your artistic expressions.

Akemi, rarin’ to go!

We sat down at the table and I ordered some terrine, sausage, cheese, dried figs, and mustard.  Akemi wasn’t hungry.  Food was the farthest thing from her mind. Sensing her eagerness, the waitress suggested we could head down and start painting.  She would bring us our food when it was ready.  Well, that’s all Akemi needed to hear.  She was off!  I grabbed our bottle of San Pellegrino and tried to keep up.

Down in what I’ll refer to as “the painting pit”, we selected our canvases after which our waitress ran us through everything we needed to know: paintbrushes here, paint there, water around here…  Akemi was practically jumping up and down in place.  “Looking forward to this?”asked our waitress.  “Some more than others,”I conceded.”

Our evening of pictures in pictures…

Akemi chooses her paints.  You squeeze them out of the dispensers like you’re milking a cow except that, instead of milk, you get burnt umber and T1000 Terminator silver.
While Akemi immediately got to work on her masterpiece, I focused my attention on dinner.  I would have ordered another round but our waitress never returned to the pit.
Akemi makes like a professional, focused on the task at hand.  First, the waves.
Then, the sun.  Unlike me who just used the paint colors offered, she mixed the various paints on her palette to create variations.
She actually came prepared with a sketch of what she wanted to paint.  I, on the other hand, decided to wing it.
In addition to various-sized brushes, she used what appeared to be a cheese knife to spread the paint on her canvas.  I used my cheese knife for my cheese.
Look at the attention to detail.  My painting was more freestyle with considerably more dabbing and splatter.
And, the final touch, the smoke.
Voila!  A work of art.
And here’s my finished masterpiece.
Quite something, huh?  I call it Pang of Youth.

We were instructed to leave the paintings there to dry, and then return within the week to pick them up.  I imagined that, in that time, my masterpiece would catch someone’s eye – perhaps a famous art critic who frequents Raw Canvas.  He’ll take one look at my piece, declare it genius, and kickstart my new career!  Or, someone will steal it and sell it for tens of thousands of dollars!  For her part, Akemi simply said: “You’re a great writer but when it comes to art…”.

I suspect she’s jealous.

29 thoughts on “August 28, 2013: Artistic Expressions!

  1. I have to hand it to you guys, getting back up on the eating horse so soon after being thrown hard.

    Akemi’s painting suits her perfectly – sunny, happy and everything going well. I hesitate to say “smoooooth sailing” though! 🙂

    Joe, I love your painting, but I always do like non-literal, abstract stuff. I think it was a great choice of colours and contrasts! At least it wasn’t called “Pang of Orecchiette”. Too soon?

    Your mention of Terminator did make me briefly think that maybe THAT could be your existing property series idea, but I suppose the rights are pretty closely guarded by whoever.

  2. Now that I look at your painting more closely Joe, the first thoughts that come to mind is – bag of popcorn, nougat bar, blueberry pie and lemon pie. Maybe I am more literal after all. Or conditioned by your food posts. I’m not sure.

  3. baterista9: I’m so happy for you!

    I love both the pictures! Where are you going to hang them?

    There is no way I could puke all day and binge on rich food that night!!!! You sound like a bulimic fashion model.

  4. Hey Joe I don’t know if you read my FB that often but here is a post I just did and I mentioned SG & SGU

    Going to watch the end of NUMB3RS only 3 more to go really liked that show but I am glad the TPTW (The Powers That Were) saw the writing on the wall in the 6th and final season and wrapped everything up so there were no cliff hangers and tied up loose ends I got into that show in the middle of it’s run but I did catch some reruns of the previous seasons but I remember watching the finale when it aired and was happy how they ended it. Wish the TPTW of Stargate when they were doing SGU would’ve done that wrapped everything up instead of leaving a cliffhanger like they did I remember when it aired and I was on the major Stargate fan site GateWorld and the numbers were not good and I think the writing was on the wall they just didn’t see it.

    What are your thoughts I know it was Brad Wright’s show I hope I didn’t offend you I didn’t mean to

    I also wanted to tell you I am trying to write a scifi & fantasy book still in the beginning stages right now still creating the universe creating the characters is the easy part for me but the plot and creating a villain is the hard part I would much rather just explore the universe. I think of funny scenes and dialogue but trying to figure out a point of the whole thing is really hard. If you have any advice or anything you want to say message me on FB I would love to hear from a professional writer there are none of those in my real life and all the writers groups in Massachusetts are in the Boston area and I am not close it is not financially feasible for me 🙁 I really wish I could because the ones on Boston sound like fun there are a couple scifi & fantasy ones I wish I could go to

  5. and I feel your pain when it comes to Art my grandmother was a professional art teacher and beautiful artist my mom could do awesome toll paintings my younger sister made her own paper dolls designed beautiful dresses for them ball gowns and I can’t draw stick figures.

  6. Ummm…I actually love your painting, Joe! A bit abstract, but it reminds me of dessert…cake and ice cream and lots and lots of sprinkles. I’m thinking you just might be the next Picasso! 🙂


  7. I see a budding artist, congrats to both of you. Joe I think yours looks like food…popcorn, donuts, eclairs, cherries, maybe I am just hungry, or its because the lady never came back to the pit with any more food…
    Akemi’s is cheerful and bright, I always draw a house on the shore with a tree, and a little john boat tied to the little dock, and the sun and water…

  8. Looks like Akemi has one engine out on her boat. Or maybe one is on fire. Is she trying to tell you she wants to take a cruise? Very nice picture.

    Joe yours is very good. I like the little touch of Jackson Pollock with the paint drizzle.

  9. (I hit send by accident)

    You should definately frame them both. Joe yours has nice color and balance. It reminds me of bananas, bread, a bento box (the pink thing – Hello Kitty?). The blue must be a plate. You’re always thinking food, aren’t you? 😉 Good job!

  10. There are only two things you need to succeed at any endeavor,,,the passion to do something (write, paint, play an instrument,be a physicist, etc ) and times. Given enough of these two items, you could create a universe…

  11. @Joe:

    Glad to see that you and Akemi have made good recoveries. But the next question…about Raw Canvas, if there was not painting involved, would you go back for the food?

    @Das and Ponytail:

    I’m thinking Joe may be the next Leonard Goldstein…except where Goldstein uses circles, Joe uses irregular shapes. It looks like he is making a start on pointillism too.


    That’s great news! What a relief! My wife Barb had her own brush with the “C” word a few years ago, but thankfully all is well. Now I’m just hoping that the MRI on my knee on Friday shows I only need some cortisone shots and not arthroscopic surgery.

  12. I like both paintings! Joe, yours looks like The Blueberry Monster vs. Pacman. In an Artsy kind of way.

  13. I love both paintings! I would sooooo eat there!

    Joe, perhaps you and Akemi could watch some episodes of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. They’re available for streaming free if you have Amazon Prime.

  14. Fun paintings.

    Akemi’s is very cheerful and bubbly.

    Joe’s definitely reminds me of movie food. I see popcorn, blueberry with a lemon slice in it, bananas, a chocolate bar, cherries or maybe red M&Ms, a soft drink. :p

  15. @baterista9: That is wonderful news, so great to hear!

    @PBMom: Thanks! My step-mom doesn’t take that medication, but back in January when she was experiencing similar hallucinations she had been on a pseudo-morphine painkiller which I think definitely had something to do with it. This time round, I think it has more to do with the UT infection and general unwellness.

    Unfortunately, the doctor called this morning and she did have a rather bad night last night with lots of confusion and delirium to the point where they did have to give her a sedative. He said that because of her COPD that she doesn’t really have a long time with us, although we’ve been hearing that for the last year so we’ll deal with that when it comes. They’ve also put her on an anti-psychotic for the delirium, which they did the last time and it did have a net positive effect – at least it did eliminate the feelings of terror and disorientation she was having. He is also going to eliminate some of her less important drugs she is taking for her mild diabetes and high BP (neither of which are that bad) to see if taking some of those drugs out of the mix helps.

    My main concern right at this point is that she is comfortable and settled. The doctor did suggest that for today it would not be necessary to come for a visit, since she’s quite sedated, and based on my experience yesterday being there actually starts to get her more agitated. So… here’s hoping for a better tomorrow.

  16. @gilder, just read your post, great news,
    ~and Joe,, Akemi didnt need a smock??!,but you did…!

  17. I love Akemi’s smiling sun; her painting woud look on a tee-shirt. Threadless let’s you design your own tees, she could submit it there, both of you could.

    Was chuckling at all the pics until I got to your painting, Joe. I love it! I don’t like a lot of abstract stuff but I love the colors, it looks like leaves and petals falling on a picnic table. If you submit it to Threadless I’ll buy one. It has a cool summer vibe.

    I’m rewatching Firefly this week, I’m enjoying it so much more without the stress of looming cancelation, seasons cut short, DVD hunting and fans arguing Trek vs Firefly. But I do cringe when they mangle the Mandarin. Miley Cryus is the poster child for the pitfalls of cultural missapropriation, behind Firefly. I’m glad to see Ming Na in Whedon’s Avengers; she’s the first Asian lead character in a Whedon thang, ever.

  18. Rob: Oh. I, uh, I see you’ve got a Mallozzi. Did you lose a bet?

    Carl (hangs head low): Yes.

    Rob: Do you need a hug?

    Carl (beat): Yes.

    Carl moves in for the hug.

    Rob (stepping away): I’m not hugging you. You’ve got a Mallozzi. I was just wondering. In general.

    Carl: I never get any respect.

  19. @poundpuppy29 (Erika)

    I don’t think anyone imagined MGM would just pull the plug on everything Stargate related following SGUs cancelation. I think if anything the expectation was there that SGU would continue in some form. I personally think that MGMs poor financial position at the time pretty much killed off Stargates chances of survival.

    I take the view that if MGM were in a better position financially, Stargate would of continued in some form.

  20. @Gary Ansorge
    What a great philosophy! Imagine if more people in the world lived by that mantra—with the passion _for_ something, rather than exhibiting the hatred and negativity so prevalent in today’s society.

    Joe and Akemi-
    Wonderful paintings and what a great idea for a restaurant. Thanks for sharing.

  21. @ Brandon Williford – 😆 Just one thing – the way you say ‘you’ve got a Mallozzi’ sounds like some sort of infectious disease.

    “What’s wrong with you? You sound terrible!”

    “Ugh. I dough. I’b got a Mallozzi in by dose.”



  22. How ironic that Akemi paint “Smooth Sailing” while yours would suggest life interrupted by black snow… In any case, looks like you had a fun evening.

    Good to hear that you had only a little bout of food poisoning. Did you figure out what you ate that could have caused it? You could have caught the Norwalk Virus which seems to be making the rounds and takes about 7-10 days to get over the main symptoms, and then a few more days to feel up to par. Nasty, nasty, nasty…

    Good you had ONLY food poisoning and was over it in a few hours – it’s a matter of perspective.

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